If you plant a cherry tree, you might want to know . . .

If you plant a cherry tree the birds will come. The robins love my cherry tree. One year a group of cedar waxwings came and perched on a branch passing cherries to each other. And little birds that I haven’t identified come.

I don’t mind sharing some of the cherries—but not all. So I have started the practice of placing fake owls in the tree, moving them around every couple days. It helps.

The Cherry Tree

If you place a pretty owl covered in real feathers in the tree, it might be attacked. I was dismayed to see feathers torn off and a big bite taken out of the styrofoam core of the owl. A squirrel?Owl

If you pick the good cherries quickly you may have enough for a pie, and then extra to put in the freezer.

Cherries

If the springtime is very wet it may affect the cherries. The cherries may develop brown rot and then you must strip all the moldy cherries from the tree.

If the black aphids come and begin to munch on the new leaves of the tree, spray the tree with soapy water.

If the Japanese beetles come you might have to work hard to save the tree. Japanese Beetle

In the last couple years they have eaten half the leaves on my tree. I started picking them off and dropping them in soapy water, but it wasn’t enough. I placed a lure with pheromes that bagged 100s of these pests. Finally I resorted to treating the ground to get rid of the grubs that emerge from the soil in July as beetles.

My daughter is amused by the effort I put in to harvesting cherries from the tree that I planted many years ago.

If you like cherries as much as I do the effort may be worth it.

The prompt for the community of writers at Five Minute Friday is: IF  I hope you will visit the link-up and see how others were inspired by this little word.

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The Great Lakes are the Ocean of the Midwest

We spent one family vacation on the Delaware beach. It was restful to walk the beach listening to the rhythmic sound of the waves crashing on the beach. The ocean is God’s grand creation.

More often we spend time near  the  Great  Lakes  of Michigan.  Lake   Superior in Upper Michigan has a rugged beauty. We have some favorite family parks along the coast of this glorious Great Lake.

Lake Superior

Lake Michigan has lovely beaches. A few years ago I wrote about a writing conference that I attended. The conference center was within walking distance of Lake Michigan.

September 2012. My day started early.   I left my house at 6:00 am and pointed the car towards Michigan. I was on my way to the Maranatha Christian Writer’s Conference.

The sun was shining when Tim Burns, conference director gave opening remarks. He pointed us to Habakkuk 2:2   Then the Lord replied: Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.In other words, write with purpose and clarity.

The conference began with messages that encouraged us to examine our motives for writing. Or to use Cecil Murphy’s term, are we paying attention to the palace guards? Are we listening to guidance from the Holy Spirit?

As the conference moved into the second day we heard from authors and editors about the changing publishing industry. The fiction writers’ panel was insightful.

Each afternoon provided an hour of free time.On the first day I chose to walk to the beach of Lake Michigan– just a couple blocks away. I have a deep appreciation for the Great Lakes. As I walked the wind was whipping my hair across my face. I could hear the roar of the waves from a distance.

On the beach, the waves were crashing and washed over any other sound.Lake Michigan

The seagulls were gathered in groups. As a line of gulls tip-toed into the water and then scurried back from a wave, laughter bubbled in my throat. I was amazed as the gulls soared and then flew sideways as the air currents carried them.

Standing on the beach I was in tune with the words of the Psalmist.

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;                                                                          let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Psalm 96:11

It is good to take time to pause. Is there some facet of God’s creation that can give you joy today?

Please visit the community of writers at Five Minute Friday. Each week Kate Motaung provides a word that inspires us to write. The one word prompt today is: OCEAN

Linking this post with Sue’s image-in-ing.

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Joy Restored

Childbirth practices had changed since I began my career as a labor and delivery nurse. The use of pitocin to hasten birth had become common. The rate of cesarean section had risen from 15% to 30%. I saw a full term infant die after inappropriate use of pitocin. I didn’t like my role as nurse, and I told my husband that I wasn’t sure that I could continue.

I was aware of a group of doctors and midwives that attended homebirth. I interviewed with them and chose to take a cut in pay to work with them. It was refreshing to attend women in their homes, supporting them as they labored.

Women were more relaxed, and the family was often involved. I saw that God had given women the ability to give birth. I saw the strength of women. Sometimes intervention was necessary. Hospitals are important and are equipped to handle complications. We transferred about 5 to 10% of the women to the hospital.

The four years that I participated in home birth restored my joy as a nurse. When we are burdened and lose our joy, we may need a new perspective. I am thankful that God led me to take the home birth position (something that I never dreamed I would do).

This lesson stays with me. I need to step back from hard situations and ask God to give me a new perspective. He will restore our joy and renew us in the roles he has given us.

How about you? Could you benefit from a new perspective?

I am joining  the Five Minute Friday community of writers. Our one word prompt this week is: RESTORE

Flying to Finland to visit my Grandmother’s birthplace

In July of last year my husband and I flew to Finland to visit my grandmother’s birthplace and to attend a family reunion. We had a nonstop flight on Finnair from Chicago to Helsinki Finland. Relatives met us at the airport.

My grandmother’s travel to the United States was much more arduous. She traveled by boat from Oulu, Finland to the port city Hanko. From Hanko she took another boat to Hull, England, then a train from Hull to Liverpool. As far as I know she traveled alone in 1903.

In Liverpool she boarded the Ultonia (a former livestock carrier). She traveled third class in steerage. She had a bunk, along with many other immigrants, in the hold of the ship. This crowded space had inadequate sanitation, and many of the passengers were seasick. I can’t imagine what she endured.

She arrived in Boston and was directed to a train  that  took  her  to  Chicago.    From Chicago she took a train to  the  Upper  Peninsula  of  Michigan where she was met by two of her brothers.

My grandmother had told family members that she planned to go back to Finland to visit one day. But after completing her journey to Michigan, she decided that she could never make such a difficult journey again. Instead she asked her daughters to promise that they would one day visit Finland.

Vuostimo Finland
House that neighbored my grandmother’s girlhood home (now gone).

My mother, my aunt and my sisters have all made the trip. We are blessed by the ease of air travel.

Linking with the Five Minute Friday Community. Today’s prompt is: FLY

The blooms in my garden remind me . . .

The tulips have faded and the lilacs have come and gone. Now the irises are blooming.

Bloom in my garden

Blooms in my garden

The peonies delight me with their layers of petals. Spring has come again.

Blooms in my garden

Blooms in my garden

The rhythm of seasons and immense variety of plants and flowers point to our Creator and his promises.

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease. Genesis 8:22

God’s word also promises that Jesus will return.

Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call,  and  they  will  gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Matthew 24:30-31

It is good to keep Jesus’ return in mind.

I am joining Five Minute Friday with this week’s prompt: RETURN

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